As a kid, my only reference for a doughnut was Dunkin’ Donuts. I discovered Apple Cider, farm fresh doughnuts when I went apple picking as a high schooler. In college, my doughnut vernacular expanded even more, fully understanding and appreciating the differences between the cake and yeast versions of this treat. In the past couple of years, I have noticed the rise in doughnut varieties, especially in NYC (home of the cronut craze). My favorite spot in the city is Doughnut Plant. They have a slew of yeast, cake, and filled doughnuts, Tres Leches and Blackout being my treats of choice. Although both are cake doughnuts, they are surprisingly airy and moist. Plus, they are free of trans fat, eggs, preservatives, and artificial flavorings and colors. Craving one yet? I surely am.
As someone who has grown up with curly hair, I have always been slightly envious of those who have voluminous straight or wavy hair. I have grown to love my curls over the years, especially after I figured out the right products and the right kind of haircut (I’ve suffered through many caret cuts and fought frizz in my quest for the perfect products). One of my favorite beauty guilty pleasures is getting my hair blown out after a haircut or for a special occasion; it always adds a little pep-in-my-step when I leave the salon. My goal is to eventually master the salon blow out at home. Some of my girlfriends who have been straightening their hair since grade school (I remember when flat-ironing was THE thing to do) have their blow dry routine down to a T. But, as a novice, it takes me a few hours and a ton of energy (my arms always feel so tired afterwards). The worst part? It never looks as great as a salon job.
Recently, I came across this tutorial which seems very promising. Plus, how gorgeous is the color of her hair? I am curious to try it to see if my results even come close to this.
Do you have a blow dry routine? What tools and products do you use?
I am a chocolate lover. Dark chocolate to be more specific. Over the holidays, when sweets were plentiful, I made a fruit and nut dark chocolate bark reminiscent of one of my favorite childhood chocolate bars, Cadbury Fruit & Nut. Now, in the midst of my third trimester, at times I crave a piece of this sweet and salty bark creation. Who am I kidding? I’d crave this stuff even if I wasn’t pregnant… but it’s a good excuse to have.
- 2 bars of good quality dark chocolate (I used Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate)
- handful of roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
- handful of roasted almonds, roughly chopped
- handful of dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- sea salt
Melt the bars of dark chocolate in a double boiler. Pour the liquid goodness onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. It will spread on its own, creating a thin layer. Generously sprinkle on the roughly chopped pistachios, almonds, and cranberries followed by a light dusting of sea salt. Let the chocolate cool for a couple of hours. To test if the bark has completely set, break off a small piece from the side, it should break the same way that a bar of chocolate would. Finally, roughly break the remaining chocolate on the cookie sheet. Store in a cool place. These also make for great gifts (wrap some in a clear, small plastic bag and tie with a ribbon or pack some in a metal tin). To make clean up easier, be sure to lick the bowl in the double boiler!
I am always looking for recommendations for a good read. These days, my reading has been heavily concentrated on pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting, which can be . Just when I was craving a more balanced bookshelf on my tablet, BuzzFeed published their “16 Books To Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year.” Some of the titles definitely fall under the “just watch the movie” category while others seem like gripping reads. The first of these books on my reading list is The Hundred-Foot Journey. The choice was rather obvious: the movie stars Helen Mirren and is being produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and the themes includes restaurants, food, Indian culture, french cuisine – what more reasoning could I possibly need? Can’t wait to read the book and then watch the movie.
Second/third on list is a tie between Wild (a soul-searching journey that reminds me Eat, Pray, Love at first glance) which will star Reese Witherspoon and This Is Where I Leave You, which will star Jason Bateman and Tina Fey (the sure to be hilarious cast alone made me want to read the book). What books make your read/watch list?
2013 concluded in the best way possible. The holiday season, while hectic, was full of laughter, joy, and of course, plenty of scrumptious treats. I had some downtime from work between Christmas and New Year’s, a first in my career. I wish all companies had this policy! And finally, one of my closest friends, Vanessa, visited from Spain. She moved to Barcelona after college and has been there ever since. She always comes home during Christmas and New Year’s and I eagerly await her arrival each year. I had told her about my pregnancy over Skype but this was the first time that she was able to see and feel my belly. She and our friend, Ariele threw me a very intimate surprise bridal shower consisting of a few friends with whom I do not require any sort of a filter. I was both thoroughly surprised and honored. Ariele, the resident party planning extraordinaire, really outdid herself with a selection of sweet and savory foods, complete with homemade cauliflower crust pizza (it was the first time I’d ever tried it and I was a fan after the first bite). Thank you ladies for helping end my 2013 in the sweetest way possible.
As a child growing up in Calcutta, I never thought I would leave India. After moving to New Jersey at eight-and-a-half years old and embarking on my first couple of trips to The Big Apple, I fell in love. New York City was so much better than anything I’d ever seen in a movie or a photograph. Central Park, The Empire State Building, the MET, the bridges, I was in awe of the grandeur of it all.
I was reminded of that same wonderment when I first visited the site, NYC Grid. Creator and photographer, Paul Sahner captures different streets, buildings, moments, and anything interesting all over the city. He then aligns it alongside an image of the same place from years past. A yellow handle in the center of the image allows the viewer to scroll between the old and the new. Each image also comes paired with a mini history lesson, providing context and pointing out subtle or drastic changes. Beware: you may/will lose track of time while exploring the site.
Featured Image: Brooklyn Heights & Dumbo; all images from NYC Grid
I am still here. You will have to pardon my unexplained hiatus.
I am thrilled to share that I am 22 weeks pregnant! The past couple of months have been filled with lots of joy, some nerves, and thankfully, no nausea. My health has been great minus the occasional leg cramps and heartburn (and odd dreams). The exciting news hits us in waves. On very busy days, there are times when I even tend to forget the fact that I have someone living inside of me. Doing research for our registry is both overwhelming and exciting. Eating the usual guilty pleasure foods no longer makes me feel very guilty. Clothes fit differently each week. Sleeping is not the same when you can only lay on your side. All of these things (plus many more) help make this unbelievable experience a bit less surreal.
Maithil has been amazing, I am so grateful for his unconditional support. Pregnancy hits men in a totally different way because they don’t experience the physical and emotional changes. He felt a light kick a few nights ago and his whole face lit up! He said that it made everything so much more real. Come April, life as we know it is going to change more than we can ever image – we cannot wait!
Summer, roughly May through September, is my favorite time of year to cook. I can find plenty of fresh, often local, produce from farmer’s markets, friends’ and families’ gardens, and even in neighborhood supermarket. I also love growing my own herbs on our make shift balcony. This year, I grew both basil and cilantro. Unfortunately, the cilantro died during the heat wave. Just when I thought the basil was about to follow suit, it surprisingly came back to life! Dear basil plant: thank you for not making me feel totally plant illiterate.
Often, my trips to the farmer’s market consists of oohing and ahhing over the season’s best and brightest. I end up getting carried away and just buying a bunch of gorgeous foods: succulent strawberries, bright carrots with the bushy leaves still intact, an array of fragrant herbs that can elevate any main ingredient. The dilemma arises once I get home. What am I supposed to do with all of my beautiful purchases? Meet the Farmer’s Market Recipe Generator by The New York Times. Just select the main ingredient, method of cooking, and herbs, and voila! The tool will generate the perfect recipe. Most of the recipes aren’t overly complicated nor do they require a huge time commitment. Best of all, they are designed to really highlight your seasonal purchases. Now this is great inspiration for a home-cooked meal.
Recipe with the above parameters:
I’ve been on a rather unexpected posting hiatus for the past couple of weeks. Photographing and writing have continued behind the scenes, but with frequent weekend visitors, a week-long trip to L.A. (for Maithil’s cousin’s baby shower), and a new freelancing gig, much of my time has been allocated to reflecting and planning what is next. More
Salads are a staple at any dinner party, especially ones hosted in the summer. Something light and refreshing with seasonal ingredients always gets my attention. This past weekend, while hosting some friends for dinner, I decided to do a little twist on the traditional pear and goat cheese salad. I had picked up some peaches, pears, and apples at the farmer’s market and I thought mixing the three would be delicious. The main trick here is to make sure that the fruit is on the crisp side, especially the peaches. You want all of the sliced fruit to hold its shape and not fall apart when you toss it. I added some sliced almonds for crunch and herbed goat cheese for its creamy texture and subtle tangy flavor. The vinaigrette really brings the whole salad together. I used some of the leftover sliced fruit to get every last remnant of the smooth, sweet, and ever so slightly smokey dressing on my plate.
serves 4 salad portions or 2 dinner portions
- 1/2 large apple (I used Fuji), thinly sliced (about 1/8 of an inch)
- 1/2 large pear (I used Anjou), thinly sliced (about 1/8 of an inch)
- 1/2 large peach, thinly sliced (about 1/8 of an inch)
- 2.5-3 ounces baby arugula (about half of one of those pre-washed boxes)
- 2 ounces herbed goat cheese, broken into chunks
- a handful of sliced almonds, about 1/4 cup
For the vinaigrette (adapted from The Pioneer Woman):
- 1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 heaping tablespoon good quality real maple syrup (I get mine from my high school, Northfield Mount Hermon)
- 1 teaspoon white white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing: Add all of the ingredients, in the order listed above, into a mason jar or a small measuring cup. Shake/whisk it all together until all of the ingredients are incorporated into a smooth liquid.
Place the arugula (washed and dried) into a large salad bowl. Add the sliced pears, peaches, and apples. Sprinkle in the sliced almonds. Evenly place the small chunks of goat cheese. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad. Toss and enjoy!